Are you ready for the big game on Sunday? Even though I am not much of a football person, I get excited whenever a New England team plays. My husband is a Philadelphia guy, but as a new(ish) Vermont resident, I am rooting for the Patriots all the way. What I am super excited for is the halftime show, commercials, and most especially, the food. Yup, I am a total cliché.
This year, since we are celebrating game day at a friend’s house, I won’t be making my go-to Slow Baked Chicken Wings (she is making them). Instead, I will be bringing to the party these Sheet-Pan Chicken Nachos along with my Five Bean Salad.
How to Make Chicken Nachos in the Oven
This oven-baked chicken nachos recipe has three parts.
First, you roast the chicken. Second, you assemble the nachos. Last but not least, you baked them in the oven.
So let’s chat about the chicken first.
How to Cook Chicken For Nachos
When it comes to chicken you can go two ways.
First, you can do what I did and roast it. Or, if you are short on time, you can buy rotisserie chicken and shred it right before you assemble your nachos.
To prep the chicken for roasting, begin by patting dry the thighs with a paper towel.
Then, rub both sides with a little bit of olive oil, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper. If you have time, I recommend mixing it up in a Ziploc bag and marinating it overnight.
In addition to saving time, I found that the time spent in the fridge allows all the flavors to mingle and produce a moist and well-seasoned roasted chicken that makes the best layered nachos. With that being said, it would still be good if you mix it up right before roasting.
To roast the chicken: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is heating up, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place chicken onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 25-35 minutes, or until the thighs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
When the chicken is done cooking, remove from the oven and cover with a sheet of aluminum foil. Set the chicken aside to cool for 5 minutes. The resting time allows the juices to evenly distribute throughout the chicken.
Right before you are ready to assemble, shred the chicken.
Be sure to leave the oven on, because now it’s time to prepare the nachos!
How To Layer Chicken Nachos
Moving on to the second part of our baked chicken nachos recipe: layering and baking the corn chips with delicious toppings.In my opinion, this is where you can get as creative as you want.
While there is no science to layering chicken nachos, I usually start with placing corn tortilla chips on a single layer on a parchment-lined sheet pan.
I like a sheet pan as I like that it is large enough, but a large skillet (such as cast iron skillet) would also work.
I top them off with Monterey jack cheese, half of the beans, and then put it in the oven for about 8 minutes or so. Doing so ensures that the cheese at the bottom layers will be all warm and melted.
Then I continue with layering the rest of the ingredients: shredded chicken, beans, bell peppers, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and rest of the chips.
One thing I recommend here is to make sure you distribute everything as evenly as possible so that all your guests will get a bite of every ingredient in your nachos.
Once all the layering is done, bake your chicken loaded nachos for another 7-8 minutes or until the cheese on top is nicely melted.
What To Put On Nachos
As you’ll see in the recipe below, I reserved some of the ingredients I used for layering to garnish the baked chicken nachos. I intentionally did that as I wanted to make sure my guests have a visual cue of what is inside.
Additionally, I topped it off with cubed avocado, cilantro, queso fresco and thinly sliced radishes.
Ready to make the best homemade nachos you’ve ever tasted? Follow the detailed recipe below and get ready to crunch and munch.
Healthy Game Day Recipe Idea - Sheet-Pan Chicken Nachos
For The Roasted Chicken:
- 1 pound boneless and skinless chicken thighs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder optional
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
For The Nachos
- 13 ounces 8 cups of your favorite tortilla chips,
- 12 ounces 2 ½ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 cup cooked black beans I used drained and rinsed canned black beans
For the Toppings:
- 1 cup tomatoes sliced thinly, I used colorful cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup fresh bell peppers sliced thinly
- ½ cup pickled Jalapeños roughly chopped
- ¾ cup corn I used drained and rinsed canned corn
- 1 ripe avocado cut into small cubes
- Handful of fresh cilantro leaves as garnish
- 4 radishes sliced thinly (optional)
- ¾ cup fresh Mexican cheese such as queso fresco optional,
- crumbled1 fresh lime cut into wedges
For the chicken:
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Pat dry chicken thighs using paper towels.
- Rub both sides of the thighs with olive oil.
- Sprinkle them with cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Transfer onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes or until thighs reach 165 degrees when a thermometer is inserted in the middle of a thigh.
- Cover with a sheet of aluminum foil and set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Do not turn the oven off.
For the chips:
- Line another baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread half of the chips onto the sheet.
- Sprinkle half of the Monterey Jack cheese and half of the beans over the chips.
- Place in the oven and bake until cheese melt, 8-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, shred the chicken.
- Take the first layer of chips, cheese, and black beans out of the oven and top them off with the rest of the chips, black beans, half of the shredded chicken, half of the tomatoes, half of the bell peppers and half of the jalapeno peppers. Place it back in the oven for another 7-8 minutes.
For the topping:
- Top it off with the rest of the chicken, tomatoes, and peppers.
- Garnish it with cubed avocado, cilantro, and if using, sliced radishes and crumbled
- queso fresco
- Serve immediately with wedges of lime on the side.
With that being said, fresh, seeded and minced jalapeños would also work well in this recipe.
– If you are short on time or want to make this in less than 20 minutes, you can skip roasting your own chicken and use rotisserie, or even, leftover chicken.
– The recipe below serves 4 to 6 people. If you are entertaining a larger group, you can certainly multiply the recipe. However, I caution you on overcrowding the sheet pan. It is best if you make several sheet pans instead of piling them all up in one baking sheet.